By the end of this week I will be behind bars: in Jail. In Bomana Women’s Jail, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. I’ll be in jail for something I didn’t do. Where is the social justice in that!
I was born and grew up in Port Moresby. I lived in Murray Barracks and went to school at St Josephs at Boroko. We regularly visited Bomana War Cemetery, right beside the jail I have ended up at. Many childhood holidays were spent at Salamaua (LOVE that place) and it is there that all my jail-leading activities began.
I learnt to weave on the beach, under the palm trees, at Salamaua. Meri’s taught me. As an adult, I changed the weave from palm leaf to garbage…and now I talk garbage all the time.
I teach weaving garbage to the female inmates at Bomana Women’s Prison. Every couple of months, I head back to Moresby to run workshops in the prison and to help the inmates develop sustainable micro businesses for themselves. I love my time behind bars.
I teach the inmates to weave; they make woven bags for me to buy. I pay almost full retail price for the product, bring it back to Australia, put an extra $5.00 on it, sell it and all that money goes back to the women of Port Moresby to create a better life for themselves and their families.
My original aim was to teach the people of Baruni Dump to weave as a pathway out of poverty. However, safety and Border Control requirements (weaving must be done inside so that grass seeds do not become trapped inside weaves) suggested I take a different look at how I set up weaving college.
Rather than the maxim “do the crime: do the time,” I did it the other way around. I did the [thinking] time and it got me into crime – weaving with the most gorgeous women in Bomana Prison.
Keep an eye on our facebook page if you would like to buy a woven bag made by women in Bomana Jail. I will be returning home Sept 12, 2016, with product galore and will list them for sale on facebook.
Keep talking garbage. Mxxxxxxxxxxxxx